Friday, August 28, 2020

Shirakawa-go : Japan Kansai-Kanazawa-Kinosaki Drive - Part 5

Day 6
Today is about making our way from Takayama to Kanazawa, with a pitstop at Shirakawa-go and Gokayama!

 



Thanks to the snowfall the night before, the road from Takayama to Shirakawa-go was very scenic! The drive wasn't too long, taking approximately 1 hour. We probably took more time than that as we stopped along the way to take pictures~





We largely walked around the area, and visited the interior of some of these grass-thatched structures. It's probably going to look magical when its all snowy and the air was really fresh. But my stomach was calling for food, especially in the cold weather it just keeps calling out more frequently~ LOL~



After our lunch as we continued our drive towards Kanazawa, we made a small detour to Gokayama 五箇山

   
  
Gokayama is a lesser-known village compared to Shirakawa-go, but it is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Lesser crowd and quiet environment actually suit us more! 



After a good stroll around Gokayama, my stomach decided its time to replenish~ We hopped back into the car and started our drive towards Kanazawa~ By the time we reached Kanazawa it was already nightfall!

The Tsuzumi ("drum") Gate at JR Kanazawa Station

Apart from beautiful parks and museums, Kanazawa is also famous for cheap and delicious seafood! After checking into our hotel we quickly went out to grab a meal (or two)!









After our dinner, we decided that it wasn't enough so we went back to the area surrounding Kanazawa station to look for supper! 



The next day will be a full day discovering Kanazawa!


Friday, November 15, 2019

An Eulogy...


My sister passed away exactly 1 year ago today. She fought with stage 4 cancer for 40 months. She was a brave woman. She talked of the disease openly, and I never saw her cry once during her battle with cancer, except on her deathbed...

It took me a long time to accept this fact and I sort of avoided family events because of this. It took me a year or so after knowing her illness before I started to meet her privately, mostly during afternoon day-offs from work. I would spend the afternoon accompanying her to her children's football and netball matches.

As the days gone by, whereby I think she had an idea that her days were up, she kept repeating the same words to me during our afternoon meet-ups, "Look at me, I have all this money but cannot do/eat/go"... She would encourage me to do the things I want to do, go travel, try new hobbies, eat my favourite dishes and spend money in general~

She was a saint in my eyes in many ways. Even if I try, I cannot find major flaws in what she did with her life. A fair mother, great temperament, very very few vices and well-liked by everyone. During her funeral I met many of her ex-colleagues and friends. Some of them I knew from many years ago, some of them whom I met for the very first time. All had only nice things to say about her. Many didn't know of her illness and were shocked to know that she's been living with it for years. I guess its attributed to her kind nature as well. Didn't want to be the centre of attention and didn't want to overly bother other people (Common trait in the family)...

The initial months of her passing was tough for me, to the extent I had to see a shrink. I would suddenly cry uncontrollably and I simply couldn't function. That's not to say its alright now. I still break down in tears once in a while, but I manage to keep it to periods when I'm alone... or I'll just rush to the nearest restroom.

I think of her from time to time, especially during the mornings when I take the short walk from bus-stop to office. Back when she was hospitalized, I would use that time to send her a WhatsApp message to check up on her as well as chitchat with her. Now I will look up at the sky and hope that she's in a better place without pain...


I have my regrets. I wished I've made that trip to Japan with her. Or anywhere else for that matter. That regret is never going to be resolved as she's here no more. End of this year I will bring her kids to Bintan... and that's probably the best thing I can do for now... I'm also traveling alot this year, fulfilling a promise that I will do whatever I want while I still can.

And thanks to her I've went to 2 rounds of endoscopy scan in the last 3 years, in which both scans resulted in benign polyps which could turn bad. I guess in a way she saved my life...

Thanks for taking care of me all these years. You're a fantastic sister and a friend... Let's be siblings again in our next lives... Hopefully I'll be the elder one next time and I'll take care of you... 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Takayama : Japan Kansai-Kanazawa-Kinosaki Drive - Part 4

Day 5
It's all about Takayama today~ Its a drive to Takayama Old Town, then to our onsen hotel for the night in the middle of Hida-Takayama~


The drive today is short and easy, which gives us more than ample time to enjoy the streets of Takayama Old Town as well as an early check-in so we can have a nice outdoor onsen dip after we check in.
Hello Takayama~


I really enjoyed Takayama~ It's got such old world charm but everything was so clean and neat~ The best thing I enjoyed about Takayama was the streetfood! Wah seh~ The amount of delicious street food this place managed to squeeze into one stretch basically caused us to have our lunch while standing up~ LOL~


1. Hida Beef meat bun for a start~


2. Beef Croquette next!

3. Skewered BBQ Beef~ Yum!


4. Beef Stew~


5. Hida Beef Burger!

6. Finished off with Pudding from this shop!

The cold weather really helped with the appetite~ but it also helped with the walking after the food~ Clean, flat and neatly organized streets made it such a joy to talk around the old streets and taking in the sights and atmosphere. Along the way there was a few shops that offered free sake/miso soup so we gladly obliged~


J fascinated by the small fishes in the drain... the water was very clear!


We spent around 3 hours in Takayama before we continued our journey to our hotel for the night~ As we drove deeper into Hida-Takayama, the scenery started to change~



Our lodging for the night was at 奥飛騨温泉郷 穂高荘 山月 (Hodakaso Sangetsu)



Now the thing about this hotel... is the fact that it has a mixed outdoor onsen! (One more item on the bucket list checked!)

The outdoor onsen is situated on one side of the valley so it offers a magnificent view of the opposite mountains~


And as with all onsen lodging in Japan, its the dinner I look forward to the most~





For this stay package, it also came with A5-ranked Hida beef~



And we were still in time for some Ayu 鮎 fish!



After dinner all of us were so satisfied and tired that no one tempted to venture outside to challenge the outdoor onsen for one more time~  We did take a stroll outside the hotel and it was starting to snow. And that gave us the sight below:


Wow~

Breakfast was just as wow~  but unfortunately I was still trying to digest the food from the previous day...






After breakfast we still had some time before checking out so we took a walk outside the hotel. The scenery of the entire place basically changed overnight~ The fresh snow with the last of the autumn leaves gave the place very fresh and vibrant colors~ Everybody loved the cool crisp air~





Next stop will be Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa!

See the rest of the trip below: